OWC Debuts ‘Fastest USB-C SSD Ever’ With Up to 2TB of Storage and Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility

OWC, a well-known maker of storage solutions for Macs and PCs, today debuted what it says is "the fastest USB-C SSD ever."


The new OWC Envoy Pro EX with USB-C is a bus-powered NVMe M.2 SSD with transfer speeds up to 980MB/s, one bay with up to 2TB of storage, and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility on both Macs and PCs. The external drive has a silver anodized aluminum housing with IP67-rated water and dust resistance.

Regular pricing is as follows:The new OWC Envoy Pro EX with USB-C is available now at MacSales.com.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with OWC. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

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This article, "OWC Debuts 'Fastest USB-C SSD Ever' With Up to 2TB of Storage and Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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OWC Launches New Aura Pro X2 SSDs for Older MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Models

Other World Computing today announced the launch of new Aura Pro X2 SSDs, which are designed to offer double the speed of Apple's SSDs at half the price.

Compared to its existing Aura SSD options, the Aura Pro X2 offers lower power consumption, lower heat, and better battery life. OWC says the SSDs it's offering to Mac users are cheaper, faster, and better.


The Aura Pro X2 SSDs offer read speeds up to 3200MB/s and write speeds up to 2400MB/s, with a maximum of 2TB of storage. OWC has designed the SSDs to be compatible with the latest versions of macOS, with support for APFS.

OWC says the new Aura Pro X2 SSDs are available for MacBook Air models from Mid 2013 to 2017, Retina MacBook Pro models from Late 2013 to Mid 2015, the 2013 Mac Pro, and the 2014 Mac mini, making OWC's upgrade option a solid one for eking more life out of an older Mac.

The Aura Pro X2 SSDs are not compatible with the 2018 MacBook Air or the redesigned MacBook Pro models released from 2016 to 2018.

OWC ships SSDs with an Envoy Pro enclosure designed to house your original SSD so you can repurpose it as an external USB drive and also use it to transfer your data to the new SSD.

Pricing on the Aura Pro X2 SSD starts at $120 for the 240GB model with SSD only, and goes up to $700 for the 2TB model. OWC offers 240GB, 480GB, 1TB, and 2TB options. Slightly more expensive packages with tools, transfer enclosures, heat sinks (desktop machines) and more are available for those who need the extra equipment.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with OWC. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tag: OWC

This article, "OWC Launches New Aura Pro X2 SSDs for Older MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Models" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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OWC Announces RAM Upgrades for New 27-Inch 5K iMacs

Apple on Tuesday unveiled new iMac models that support up to 64GB RAM. Apple charges high prices for RAM upgrades, though, but luckily, there are do-it-yourself options for replacing an iMac's memory after purchase.

Other World Computing this week announced memory upgrade kits designed for the 2019 27-inch 5K iMacs, which let you upgrade your available RAM more affordably.


There are three RAM kits available depending on your needs:

- 16GB Kit (8 GB x 2) OWC2666DDR4S16P - $118.88

- 32GB Kit (16GB x 2) OWC2666DDR4S32P - $229.88

- 64GB Kit (16GB x 4) OWC2666DDR4S64S - $449.99

OWC's RAM kits let you save 40 to 60 percent over Apple's upgrade pricing, and there is an option to trade in the existing RAM in your machine to get a discount.

OWC says that it is testing 128GB of memory in the 27-inch iMac models and will confirm whether or not the machine supports it in the near future. So far, the 27-inch iMac has been able to see 128GB of memory, which seems promising for even further RAM upgrades. OWC offers a lifetime limited warranty for its memory kits, along with a 30 day money back guarantee.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with OWC. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tag: OWC

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OWC Releases App for Ejecting All Drives Connected to an OWC Dock with a Single Click

OWC this week announced a neat and tidy solution for quickly disconnecting multiple drives from any OWC dock, with the release of a free Dock Ejector utility.


The Mac app lives silently in your menu bar and allows you to safely eject all drives connected to your OWC dock with a single click, ensuring all data has been written before any disk is unmounted.

We've experienced a couple of occasions where drives have disconnected sluggishly from a 14-port OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock (reviewed here), one of which resulted in fragmented data, so this free app is certainly a welcome one.

We tested Dock Ejector on a multi-disk Mac workstation using the above dock – as well as the older OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock – and found it to work well. The one-click function removes the tedium of undocking devices one at a time before you can disconnect your Mac, and the utility lets you know when it's safe to unplug the dock.

The app is compatible with all OWC docks, according to the company, including its 10-port USB-C Dock and five-port USB-C Travel Dock.

The Dock Ejector utility is compatible with Mac and Windows and can be downloaded for free from the OWC website. [Direct Link]

Tag: OWC

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OWC Acquires Popular Thunderbolt 3 Accessory Maker Akitio

Longtime Mac accessory vendor OWC today announced that it has acquired Akitio, maker of popular professional-level external storage solutions focused on Thunderbolt 3. Akitio also offers a number of other Thunderbolt 3 accessories including docks, eGPU boxes, and more.

"This acquisition gives us the opportunity to strengthen our core prosumer lineup and market reach with photography, video and music pros with some really exceptional new offerings," said Larry O'Connor, OWC Founder & CEO. "Our product lines and brands are quite complementary, with Akitio bringing a strong reputation in the Windows space and segments like performance gaming, AR/VR, high-end creative strengths to our base. I see tremendous opportunities ahead for our team and our customers."
While Akitio joins OWC's other brands at OWC's Illinois headquarters, Akitio's teams in California and internationally will remain at their current locations and all customer support and warranty obligations will be honored without interruption.

Tags: OWC, Akitio

This article, "OWC Acquires Popular Thunderbolt 3 Accessory Maker Akitio" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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OWC’s 14 Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock Now Available for Purchase

OWC's latest dock, which offers a total of 14 ports and works with Thunderbolt 3-enabled Macs and PCs, is now available for purchase.

The dock, which we reviewed back in October, is one of the best Thunderbolt 3 docks available on the market thanks to its price point, wide port availability, and the fact that it supports up to 85W, which is enough juice to power the 15-inch MacBook Pro.


There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, five 5Gb/s USB-A ports, an 8Gb/s USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port, a microSD card slot, an SD card slot, a digital audio output port, a Mini DisplayPort Port, S/PDIF output and combo 3.5 mm audio ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

It is OWC's most powerful dock with the highest number of available ports for attaching everything from 4K and 5K displays to your Mac to SSDs, cameras, mice, keyboards, and other accessories. It can also charge your iPhones, iPads, and other devices.

You can buy OWC's 14 port Thunderbolt 3 dock from the MacSales website for $299.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with MacSales and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

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Review: OWC’s Updated Thunderbolt 3 Dock Adds 85W Charging, 10 Gbps USB-C Port, and microSD Slot

Nearly a year and half ago, OWC was one of the first companies to launch a Thunderbolt 3 dock, offering over a dozen ports of various types to support a variety of accessories. While I loved the sheer number of the ports offered on the original version of the dock, there were some shortcomings, including a lack of any 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and only 60 watts of charging power, which may not be enough for 15-inch MacBook Pro users.

Users for whom those two concerns are dealbreakers will be glad to hear that OWC is launching an updated version of its Thunderbolt 3 dock in just a few weeks, addressing these issues.


The new OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is exactly the same size and shape as the original, with a horizontal design constructed of an aluminum band (in silver or space gray) wrapping all the way around the sides and glossy black plastic on the top and bottom.

All ports are clearly labeled in white, and there is an OWC logo and "Thunderbolt 3 Dock" branding printed on the front of the dock. The dock measures in at a hair over 9 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep and an inch tall. It weighs about 1.2 pounds, although as a desktop dock you're not likely to be moving it around very often so weight shouldn't be much of a factor.

Because OWC's new dock is so similar to the original version, I'm not going to walk through all of the features, and I'll instead focus on the differences. But rest assured, the new version continues to have five USB-A ports running at 5 Gbps, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a Mini DisplayPort port, and S/PDIF output and combo 3.5 mm audio ports. Two of the USB-A ports (one front and one rear) offer 1.5A of power for faster charging of connected devices.

New version on top, original model on bottom

As for new additions, OWC has added two additional ports on the front of the dock: a microSD card slot that complements the SD card slot from the original version, and a new 10 Gbps Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. Both of these are great additions that many users will find handy.

New version on top, original model on bottom

I tested out the new 10 Gbps USB-C port on the front of the dock using a fast CalDigit Tuff external SSD, and I saw solid speeds coming in at over 500 MB/s read and 480 MB/s write. Speeds when connected to one of the 5 Gbps USB-A ports came in at around 350 MB/s read and 325 MB/s write, which typical for this drive over that type of connection.

Speed test using 10 Gbps USB-C port and external SSD

One connectivity option you'll find missing compared to the original version of the dock is a FireWire 800 port, which was formerly located near the center of the dock on the rear. It's not a particularly surprising omission given the continuing decline in use for the standard and the fact that OWC had previously dropped the port from its main Thunderbolt 3 dock lineup. The loss of the port won't be an issue for the vast majority of users, but if you happen to still need FireWire connectivity you'll need to look at other dock options.

If you're a 15-inch MacBook Pro user, you'll be glad to hear that OWC has bumped up the charging capabilities in the new dock to 85 watts from the original 60 watts. That'll be enough to charge up your MacBook Pro at the same speed as from Apple's power adapter, and it'll keep your machine powered up even under heavy loads.

135-watt power brick from original version (left) vs. 180-watt power brick for updated model (right)

It's a very welcome improvement, but it does come at the cost of a larger external brick needed to support the increased power. The power brick included with the new dock is 180 watts, up from 135 watts in the original version. That increases the brick's size fairly significantly, but in most cases you'll be able to tuck it away somewhere and not have to worry about it.

Overall, the new Thunderbolt 3 Dock from OWC is one of my top picks among all of the docks I've tested. CalDigit's TS3 Plus has been my go-to dock since its release, but OWC's dock now gives it a run for its money with the array of ports and full 85-watt charging power that put it just about on par. OWC's dock will be priced at $299, which is competitive with other high-end Thunderbolt 3 docks, some of which can run up to $350 or more. OWC says the new dock will be available from its online store at macsales.com and at other retailers starting in early November.

Note: OWC provided the Thunderbolt 3 Dock to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with macsales.com and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Review: OWC’s ThunderBlade V4 Offers Blazing Fast External Storage for Professionals

OWC this week is announcing the newest member of its family of "extreme performance drives," the ThunderBlade V4. The ThunderBlade V4 is an external drive targeted at professional users who need the fastest possible speeds, and it packs four M.2 solid state drive blades into a single enclosure that runs over Thunderbolt 3, with total capacities ranging from 1 TB to 8 TB. The result is what OWC says is the "fastest SSD ever made," with read speeds topping out at 2800 MB/s and write speeds up to 2450 MB/s.


We've spent a bit of time with the ThunderBlade V4, and it's definitely an impressive piece of technology, although its pricing that starts at $1200 and rises significantly from there will limit the potential market. This is an accessory for demanding professionals who need to squeeze every bit of performance out of their external drives and is undoubtedly overkill for consumers simply looking to back up their computers.

Design


The ThunderBlade V4 comes in a hefty aluminum enclosure covered in large fins to help with heat dissipation, as this drive can get fairly warm when you're reading and writing a lot of data. There is no active cooling in the drive, which helps with the ThunderBlade V4's ruggedness as there are no moving parts.

The ThunderBlade V4 measures just under 5 inches wide, a little over 7.5 inches deep, and just over an inch high. It weighs a little under two pounds, which gives it a solid feel and good stability on a desk. A separate power adapter also adds some bulk to deal with elsewhere.


The only feature on the front of the ThunderBlade V4 is a thin three-inch long LED that shines white when connected to power (and also when connected to a sleeping computer) and blue when the drive has an active connection to a computer. While the LED appears to be a single thin indicator, it's actually made up of four distinct segments, one for each M.2 drive in the ThunderBlade.

Each segment will blink blue when data is being written to or read from the corresponding drive. With the speed of the drive and the four onboard SSDs, you'll see a sort of flickering ripple effect across the LED as data is moved.

An ambient light sensor on the rear of the ThunderBlade V4 dims the front LED in dark environments.


In addition to the light sensor, the rear of the ThunderBlade includes a port for the power adapter connection and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. One Thunderbolt 3 port is used to connect the ThunderBlade to your computer using the included 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable, while the second is available for daisy chaining a display or other peripherals.

The Thunderbolt 3 ports are capable of supplying 15 watts of power each, but that won't be enough to power a MacBook Pro. This isn't intended as a true docking station, however, so it's not surprising that the power output is limited and primarily intended to drive downstream peripherals rather than host computers.

Speed Tests


We ran some QuickBench disk speed tests on the ThunderBlade V4, and while we didn't quite hit OWC's top numbers, the drive still showed some seriously fast performance. Connecting directly to a 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro, we saw read and write performance in the range of 2400 MB/s in extended testing mode with transfer sizes in the 20–100 MB range.


Similar speed tests using Blackmagic with larger transfer sizes of 5 GB yielded slightly lower speeds of over 1900 MB/s read and 2100 MB/s write, although it is difficult to directly compare the two different methodologies. Even that performance allowed the ThunderBlade to ace Blackmagic's "Will it Work?" rating system that determines whether a drive is fast enough to handle video in various combinations of formats, resolutions, and frame rates.


Results were similar in various configurations even when other peripherals up to and including a pair of LG UltraFine 5K displays were connected to the MacBook Pro's other Thunderbolt 3 ports.

With an LG UltraFine 5K connected to the downstream Thunderbolt 3 port on the ThunderBlade, we obviously saw lower speeds as some of the bandwidth was being dedicated to the display. Write speeds were impacted most significantly, dropping to around 800 MB/s, while read speeds dipped slightly to around 2050 MB/s.


RAID


The four SSDs inside the ThunderBlade V4 come preconfigured in RAID 0 format to offer the full stated capacity of the drive. A license for OWC's SoftRAID XT (formerly SoftRAID Lite) is included with the ThunderBlade, and the software can be used to reformat in RAID 1 to provide mirrored redundancy.

While RAID 0 and 1 give you the option to prioritize storage capacity or data redundancy, it would be nice if some of the higher RAID modes were available on the ThunderBlade to offer more flexibility.

With the downstream Thunderbolt 3 port on the ThunderBlade V4, you can daisy chain multiple units together for even more storage, although you're of course limited by the total bandwidth of the single Thunderbolt 3 connection they're all running over. You can even set up two ThunderBlade V4 units as a single RAID array.

PC Compatibility


While OWC is focused on Macs and the ThunderBlade V4 comes formatted for Mac as a RAID 0 Journaled HFS+ volume, it can also be used with PCs once the drives have been reformatted and reconfigured. Unlike on Mac, however, booting from the ThunderBlade is not supported on Windows.

Pricing and Availability


As should be expected for a product with large storage capacities using the fastest SSD designs and Thunderbolt 3, the ThunderBlade V4 isn't cheap. The 1 TB model is priced at $1199.99, with the 2 TB model at $1799.99, the 4 TB model at $2799.99, and the 8 TB model at $4999.00.

But for professional users who need the absolute fastest external storage, the ThunderBlade V4 looks like a solid option that takes maximum advantage of the bandwidth offered by Thunderbolt 3. All models come with a rugged case, a three-year warranty, and one year of complimentary Level 1 data recovery coverage. All four models will be available from OWC starting January 8.

Note: OWC provided the ThunderBlade V4 to MacRumors for the purposes of this review, and it will be returned to OWC. No other compensation was received.


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iMac Pro Base Model Teardown Reveals 2x SSD RAID Configuration and Four 8GB DIMM Modules

While we await iFixit's inevitable comprehensive teardown of Apple's new iMac Pro, third party Mac component supplier OWC has just published its own teardown video, providing some interesting tidbits on the internal configuration of the non-user upgradeable machine.

Whereas standard 27-inch iMacs have a small hatch in the back that allows the RAM in the machine to be upgraded after purchase, the iMac Pro does not. Fortunately, an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider is able to open up the iMac Pro and swap out the RAM, and here's what they can expect to find upon doing so.


The teardown reveals that in the 32GB base model, there are four 8GB DIMM modules, a configuration type that appears to be mirrored in the 64GB (4 x 16GB) and 128GB (4 x 32GB) models. The good news is that this means the iMac Pro supports quad-channel memory, but the bad news is that it also means users looking to upgrade from, say, 32GB to 64GB will have to replace all four modules to do so.


The teardown also reveals that in the iMac Pro 1TB base model, Apple has chosen to use two 512GB SSDs in a RAID configuration. Rather than soldering the flash storage on the main board, both drives exist as separate modules that are attached via screws, so replacing them is at least technically feasible, even if Apple does not make it easy.

OWC says that in the near future it will be offering a DIY memory upgrade kit for the iMac Pro, although most users are likely to hand over such an undertaking to a qualified service provider. For more details on the iMac Pro's internals, including the Intel Xeon W eight-core processor, be sure to watch the video embedded above.

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Tag: OWC
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)

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OWC’s Aura SSDs Not Working With macOS High Sierra, Fix Coming Soon

Some Mac owners who have replaced their machine's storage with Aura SSDs from OWC are not able to install macOS High Sierra at this time due to an incompatibility issue that prevents the update from successfully converting the drives to the new APFS format.

The Aura SSDs show up as "Rotational" drives instead of Solid State, and when attempting to install macOS High Sierra, users are seeing an error message about a firmware update before the installation process crashes.


Several customers who have purchased Aura SSDs have complained on a macOS High Sierra beta blog post, as the issue long pre-dates the macOS High Sierra release. One customer was told that new firmware would not be developed until the High Sierra golden master was released, but new firmware has apparently not made it out yet.

OWC offers Aura SSDs for a range of Macs, including many MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro models. According to the company, Aura SSDs compatible with the following machines are affected:

- MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)

According to customers, OWC is recommending users re-install the original SSD that shipped with their Macs, download and install macOS High Sierra, and then swap the Aura SSD back in. Apple is aware of the issue with select third-party SSDs, and the OWC engineering team is working directly with Apple on a fix. OWC expects "a very timely solution."

Tag: OWC

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